Point Pleasant

Oral History

Located at the confluence of Bucks County’s largest stream – Tohickon Creek – and the Delaware River, the town of Point Pleasant was a significant 18th- and 19th-century commercial and transportation center, and a fishing and summer resort area in the late 19th- and early 20th-century.

Point Pleasant represents two important early settlements along the Delaware River located on opposite sides of Tohickon Creek. Several hundred yards to the south of the creek, in Plumstead Township, a ferry crossing the Delaware was established in 1739 which spurred development of the village. It was the second oldest ferry on the Delaware River north of New Hope and operated until 1835 when the Lumberville Bridge was opened for travel. The ferry crossing was at an eddy in the river which became known as Black’s Eddy. By the turn of the 19th century a shad fishery was developed and a tavern was built near the ferry crossing. The area was later known as Lower Black’s Eddy to differentiate it from the town of Upper Black’s Eddy located 10 miles north in Bridgeton Township. Lower Black’s Eddy became a center for rafting activities beginning in the late 1700s.

The second settlement from which Point Pleasant developed was located in Tinicum Township at the confluence of the Tohickon Creek and Delaware River, where a late 18th century grist and saw mill were established. This northern portion of the village also developed around another 18th-century shad fishery on the Delaware known as the Cave Bank Fishery.

Due largely to the opening of the Delaware Canal in 1831, the two villages of Point Pleasant and Black’s Eddy grew into one town known as Point Pleasant. The village underwent considerable growth, becoming the largest and one of the most important canal towns north of New Hope. Because of a drop in elevation of the Delaware River, Point Pleasant had two locks. There was also a canal basin and an aqueduct over Tohickon Creek, the longest of 10 aqueducts on the canal.  There were mule stables and taverns located near the locks, the only places canal boats stopped.

A major boost to the village occurred in 1855 with the completion of a bridge over the Delaware River connecting Point Pleasant with Byram, New Jersey and the Belvediere Delaware Railroad, whose tracks led south to Philadelphia. The Belvediere Delaware Railroad had penetrated the Lehigh River coal regions and had begun to replace the canal as the major method of coal transportation.

By the 1880s the increased use of railroads, improved roads, and newly constructed Delaware River bridges impacted use of the Delaware Canal. Canal traffic continued to drop as the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company found it in their best interest to ship coal by the railroad system rather than the canal. In 1931 all traffic on the canal ceased.